Booksmart was a box office disappointment earlier this year, despite extensive glowing coverage in the press endorsements from everybody from big names like Taylor Swift. In fact, there have been a number of teen films this decade that were critically acclaimed yet they failed to catch on at the box office, from The Edge of Seventeen to The Spectacular Now. Kevin Munger thinks that Booksmart and other teen films in recent years may resonate more with adults than the teen audience they aim to portray. "Ironically," he says, "the Hollywood production that perhaps most closely mirrors the experiences of teens today isn’t a teen movie at all. It’s the American version of The Office, which aired from 2005 to 2013. How relevant is it? Billie Eilish, Gen Z’s first bona fide pop star, claims to have watched the entire show 12 times. The conceit of the show, borrowed from reality TV, is that it is a documentary in which shaky cameras follow the employees of a fictional paper company called Dunder Mifflin; the characters also give 'confessional' monologues about inter-office drama and the vagaries of their jobs. On Reddit, fans theorize that the extremely uncomfortable awkwardness of Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is a result of the character always being on camera — which is, of course, how today’s teens experience their social worlds, with ubiquitous social media-linked camera phones ready to turn any social failure into cringe content that lives forever. The Office succeeds with teens because it’s the inverse of Booksmart. While the latter appeals to adults (mostly the ones who were really stoked about Hillary Clinton in 2016) by projecting their current selves onto a past that never existed, the former resonates with teens because it imagines a future in which their present social dynamics have not changed. It’s a high school dramedy populated by adults dicking around and starting drama, with their actual work as transparent a sideshow to the social conflicts as the classes are in canonical teen dramas."